The new Crank Brothers Mallet E features most of what we love about the burly Crank Brothers Mallet DH but in a slimmed-down package.
The Crank Brothers Mallet E has the same DNA as the 10/10 rated Mallet DH, but it comes in a slightly pared down package and long, or standard length axles. Both are two of the best mountain bike clipless pedals on the market. It still uses a forged aluminium platform with six adjustable pins per side to aid grip, and there’s also a set of Traction Pads slotted in the top of the pedal to add extra support. The binding is the four-sided Crank Brothers design, which offers a ton of mud shedding and can be easily cleared by just twisting the cleat backwards and forwards. The stock cleats have six degrees of float and a 15° release angle but 0° cleats are available aftermarket, and you can also buy premium cleats with a 20° release angle. The steel axle spins on an Enduro outer cartridge bearing and an inner Igus LL-glide bushing, which are double sealed.
There’s no adjustable release tension on this pedal, so set up is simple. However, the brass cleats are really low profile and nine times out of 10 need shimming away from the sole to ease engagement and release. You still need to bed things in for a few rides before it frees up, but some shoes need as much as two spacers above the cleat. The fact that it’s tight meant we never bothered with the taller 2mm Traction Pads included with the pedal. The shoe also sits really low to the concave platform, so you don’t really need to bother with those six adjustable set screws either.
The Mallet E doesn’t quite have the size or support of the Mallet DH, or a flat pedal, but we found the extra clearance is a big plus on an e-bike where you’re pedalling more in corners and technical climbs. Some testers with dodgy ankles don’t like the massive release angle but you can also unclip by rotating your heel inwards, or fit the alternative cleats.
The Crank Brothers Mallet E is pricey, but it offers the most support, the easiest shoe-to-pedal engagement and the best mud shedding, and is easily the best caged clipless here and our test winner.